It’s been said that the only true constant in life is change, and this is especially true for the extraordinary circumstances of the past year. Retailers and eCommerce businesses are busy trying to adapt to the changes presented by our current situation. At the same time, we’re seeing a jump in overstock and returned merchandise, leading to a greater need for better liquidation processes.

The pandemic means more work for anyone who wishes to welcome the public into their place of business. Your stores have to keep up with extra cleaning and sanitizing, and you may be working with a smaller staff. With so much going on, there isn’t a lot of time for back-end work like manual liquidation processes. Anything you can do to streamline these processes allows more time for other, more pressing tasks.

Why Are Liquidations So Important?

With our drastically changing retail and eCommerce landscape, liquidation is a fact of life. Overstock and returns are always a concern, but today, they’re even more significant for many retailers.

With all of the changes and disruptions of the past year, most stores have a wealth of excess merchandise that’s taking up warehouse space. Customer buying patterns were completely disrupted last spring, followed by a change in purchasing priorities that continues to shift and evolve. This has made purchasing trickier than ever, causing retailers to change their purchasing strategies continually. The resulting learning curve has led to excess inventory at unusually high levels.

You’re also likely seeing greater eCommerce customer returns this year than ever before.

Even after things return to “normal,” you’ll still need to have a good solution to liquidate returns and overstock. If you haven’t streamlined your liquidation process yet, now is a great time to get started.

What Is the Liquidation Process?

When your warehouse and stockrooms are full of last season’s products and customer returned inventory, you don’t have room for new orders. You need to regularly offload this merchandise to keep up with seasonal trends and consumer buying patterns. But liquidation can be a time-consuming process if you don’t automate it.

Old school liquidations often went like this:

  • You had to manually go through stacks and pallets of crates, boxes, and random items to make a list of the products available and what prices you hoped they would fetch.
  • Next, you’d reach out to several liquidation contacts, providing them with the details of the products you needed to offload.
  • These contacts may have come back with questions, requiring you to more closely check over the merchandise, or they may have wanted to negotiate down the price. All of this back-and-forth took up precious time that could have been better spent elsewhere.
  • Finally, if you were lucky, you struck a deal with someone and were ready to ship out your products. By then, you probably had more stacks of excess inventory in the way and needed to start all over again.

Fortunately, today there are far more efficient ways of handling your excess inventory. Here are a few tips to keep things moving.

Automate Negotiations with Online Auctions

Manual negotiations like those described above used to be the only way to liquidate large quantities of merchandise. Even today, some retailers still rely on this inefficient method. But you don’t have to do things manually anymore, and you’ll probably get a far better return if you don’t.

Online liquidation auctions allow you to reach a broader selection of buyers. At B-Stock, we have a vast network of fully-vetted business buyers just waiting to bid on your liquidation merchandise. Because these buyers compete directly with one another in the auction format, you’ll get the best fair market price. And perhaps best of all, our auctions offer a fast turnaround. This level of efficiency means your merchandise will move out quickly, freeing up space and capital for next season’s goods.

Want to learn more about selling your liquidation merchandise with a trusted partner like B-Stock? We have an informative sellers guide that can help you get the most out of your overstock and returned merchandise.

Use a UPC Scanner

Today, clipboards holding manually-written inventory lists are obsolete. There’s no reason to sort or upload merchandise manually when the automation tools you need are plentiful and affordable.

Using UPC codes, you can process vast quantities of merchandise faster and more accurately than ever before. If you haven’t moved to a scanner system yet, you’re wasting precious time and staff-hours on inefficient, outdated inventory processes that are highly susceptible to human error and confusion.

Whether you’ve been using a UPC scanner for years or are just now adopting this technology, you’ll want to check your system to be sure it includes the pertinent details on every item. Ensure that information like product descriptions, size, weight, and other vital details are tied to UPC codes in your software. Once this is properly set up, manifests can be generated with just a few clicks, eliminating one of the most tedious tasks in the liquidation process.

Use Data to Your Advantage

Even with the best liquidation methods, you’ll have plenty of decisions to make along the way. Do you want to separate your inventory by category only, or have separate auction lots for overstock or returned merchandise? Do you want to post smaller lots of just a pallet or two each, or offload entire truckloads at once? What kind of detail do you want to include in your manifests, and how should you go about marketing your liquidation auctions?

Data can help you decide on these factors and many others. It can be used to determine auction starting prices, how to optimize your liquidation lots for the best return, and other strategies to help you get the highest recovery and fastest turnaround for your liquidations. Team up with a proven market leader like B-Stock to gain access to years of compiled data and auction strategy to reap the benefits this information can offer.

Don’t let returns and last season’s overstock clog up your inventory space. Instead, make 2021 the year you perfect your company liquidation process through a partnership with B-Stock. Contact us to get started today!

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